Saturday, January 28, 2017

It's More Than a Slip

It all began the Christmas of 1964 when I was pregnant with my son.  That year my Aunt Kathy gave me the Christening gown. It was an entire set, slip, dress, coat, and bonnet. It was pure white nylon with white satin embroidery and delicate lace edging at the neck and sleeves. In early May of 1965, my son was wearing the outfit for his Baptism. Later, it was washed, dried and carefully folded into it's original box. To be saved. For later.

In September of 1968, it was taken out of the box once again for my daughter's Baptism.  As it was being prepared for storage once again, a tradition was born. Since I am the oldest of nine children, and it was hoped that the gown would be used by all of my parents grandchildren, we decided to record those Baptisms by embroidering the names of the children who wore the gown on the slip.  All of the girls names would be in pink and all of the boys in blue. 

Recognizing that other families might have a similar gown tradition, we decided if a child wore any part of the outfit, their name would be included on the slip. For instance, my own grandchildren wore a gown made from their mother and grandmother's wedding gowns but they all wore the slip.

And so it began: David, Laura, Kurt, Erik, Nicole, Stacey, Sarah, Toby, Andrew, Brent, Nicholas, Adam, Keith, Jason, Jenna, Leslie, Michael, Gregory, and Brian.  The gown was shipped from family to family and state to state.  Illinois to California to Florida back to Illinois and back to Florida.  As each grandchild used the gown, a name was added to the slip.

In the mid 1990s, the next generation began to make its appearance and once again the gown began its travels.  The pink and blue embroidery changed to Apricot and Mint. The gown traveled to New York, Germany, Florida, Maryland to Illinois and back to Florida. Those original 19 babies who wore the gown added the names of their children to the slip.  Not all of my parents great-grandchildren have worn the gown but at least nine of them have worn it. 

Most recently, the gown was used in 2015 by my brother's granddaughter who was photographed with my son (the original wearer of the gown). Sometimes I need to send a query to my nieces and nephews regarding the current residence of the gown, but I am very satisfied to let it keep traveling.  Wonder what colors will be chosen for the next generation.Fifty years and still in use. It is looking pretty good for 50 don't you think.

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